The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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FLOWER EATERS: WHAT TO DO WITH EDIBLE SPRING BLOOMS

A couple weeks ago, a friend posted a video of her toddler son gleefully admitting, “I ate flower!” And then, “Whole thing.” His older sister chimes in, “He really did!” We tend to regard the plants in our neighborhood as off limits in terms of edibility. But there are so many edible flowers out there – including the dandelions that this little guy ate – and they are starting to go off. Yes picking up a dandelion from the park and putting it in your mouth isn’t really the best practice, but they are edible and they used to be considered a valuable food resource. Young dandelion greens were regarded as a spring tonic, full of much-needed vitamins and minerals after the resource-scarce winters of olden days.

 


The flowers of fruits, plants, and herbs that we know well tend to carry a faint whiff of their familiar relatives. For instance, rosemary blossoms do taste like rosemary, and fruit blossoms have a little bit of sweetness that hints at their future selves. Flowers add color and visual interest to our food, and that makes it more fun to eat. Right? I think so.

Here are some of my faves emerging in neighborhoods and at farmers markets right now:

1: Pea blossoms: Scrambles, salads.

2: Chive Blossoms: Anywhere savory where you’d like a chive/onion flavor.

3: Kale Blossoms. All the brassicas are going off right now. Try broccoli blossoms too! Salads!

4: Rosemary (lavender) and Miner’s Lettuce flowers: Lovely addition to salads; Herb blossoms will be great on desserts

5: Salmon Berry flowers! Desserts, salads!

6: Wild Onion: Like chive, salads, eggs, and anything savory where an onion flavor is welcome!

7: Delicate Yellow Violet: Desserts, fancy drinks, salads!

8: Arugula Blooms: Salads and veggies and pizzas.

9: Wild Sweet Rocket. Found these in the woods near my house. Lots of wild mustard-type plants are popping up right now.

What to make and eat with your flowers? I got some ideas:

Elderflower Syrup or Lilac Syrup for yogurt, pancakes or waffles

Breakfast Sweet Potato, WHAT

Coconut Cashew Dream Bars

Granola Parfaits with Chamomile Yogurt (!!)

Avo Toast with Spring Flowers 

Quick Pickled Blackberries on Toast with Chive Blossoms

Fava Bean Soup with Chive Blossoms

And check out this amazing Pinterest board chock full of recipes incorporating edible flowers. I want to eat flowers all day every day.

Next week, in celebration of all things flower and food, I’ll be sharing a recipe from Lily Diamond’s newly released cookbook.

Please make sure you do your research and/or confirm with a trusted source before eating, as there are some poisonous plants that look similar to edible flowers. 

That being said, the process of exploration and discovery, along with the ability to harvest an edible garnish for a meal, is kinda empowering. It’s a delightful way to connect with our local landscape.

 

 

  • Kathy Forsyth - Have you ever tried nasturtiums? They have a peppery taste to them.ReplyCancel

    • Taste of France - I was going to mention nasturtiums, too. Edible flowers were a big fad in the late 1980s. I remember laying out a spread for an article….which I no longer have because it was pre-digital.
      I stick to foraging in my own yard, where I know no chemicals have been sprayed, or in the woods. I avoid even the country roadsides, because of the car emissions if not spraying.ReplyCancel

      • Kimberley - @Taste of France: that’s a great point about spraying the sides of roads, which I instinctively avoid too, but I live in a semi-rural area and the side roads are definitely not sprayed. I would’ve loved to have seen that article. I think edible flowers have transcended fads since I don’t think they really go out of style in adding color and texture to food. (PS: The cover of my cookbook actually features nasturtiums.)ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Oh yes! They’re actually on the cover of my cookbook. I love nasturtiums, but haven’t seen them blooming yet up here in the PNW.ReplyCancel

  • thalia - so beautiful, Kimberley , there’s so much to still be discovered about cooking with flowers. thank you for including my parfaits! XxReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Thank you! Your parfaits are epic. I love the idea of adding chamomile to yogurt.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Wren - Hi Kimberly,
    I am a food blogger and caterer. I love using edible flowers in my food displays and as edible garnishes on passed hors d’oeuvres and cheese displays, tossed in to salads or whatever! I love the purple violets that come on early. Love your beautiful pics! Check out my blog on my website if you have the chance.ReplyCancel

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  • Emily | Shiny Happy Bright - Yes! I love edible flowers. I’ve been throwing them in salads and I just made some chive blossom vinegar this week, but my all-time favorite is a goat cheese stuff zucchini blossom. Thanks for sharing that Pinterest board – I hadn’t come across that one yet and I love it!ReplyCancel

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